Harpoon Summer Beer is a Kölsch style beer, which a lot of people seem to think is a great beer for Summer. Honestly, I’ve never had a Kölsch, and this one just happened to come in the Harpoon variety pack for Summer that I grabbed for the Memorial Day BBQ I was going to have.
A little on the Harpoon “Summer Vacation” Variety Pack. I was looking of a Summer variety pack, and was leaning toward the Sam Adams one with the Rustic Saison, but I opted for the Harpoon box. Why? Because is seemed less challenging for my guests and I can’t stand Sam Adams Lite!
It had some Harpoon IPA, this Summer Beer, their famous UFO Hefeweizen, and a new Bohemian Pilsner. All nice coices for Summer beer, right?
I thought the beers weren’t too challenging for people who liked beer, but weren’t (yet) craft-beer freaks. We’ll see how it goes – I’m thinking there won’t be any left over regardless…
Anyway, the 5.5% ABV Harpoon Kölsch looks like a lager to me. Bubbly, clear, and golden in color. Interestingly enough, I learned a few very neat things about this new-to-me beer style. Here’s what the Harpoon people have to say about it.
“Harpoon Summer Beer is a Kolsch style ale. Originating in the Rhineland city of Cologne (Koln), Kolsch ales have the characteristics that many people associate with lager beers. Kolsch is brewed with an ale yeast, but like other northern German light ales, it is straw gold in color and light bodied. The flavor is mild. The hopping levels provide a crisp, dry finish that make this beer particularly refreshing.”
By the looks of it, I would have never guessed that this beer was an ale!
As I mentioned, the beer is very clear, and creates a nice pure-white head. It certainly fills the appearance role for a good Summer ale! The aroma was pleasant as well, and this being my first experience with a Kölsch, I’m not sure how true-to-style the beer was. Anyway, the aroma was clean, and it reminded me something between freshly cut grass, and lemon. Not strong, mind you, but it was there.
I thought the taste was a combination of the aforementioned grassyness, lemony or grapefruity citrus flavors, as well as a little sweet malt. Generally not much hop in the flavor but a little more in the finish. While I found this to be a decent flavor profile, nothing really stood out above the grassyness and citrus to me.
I found the Harpoon Summer Beer to be light and crisp, if a bit watery. I suppose that’s not a negative toward the beer, just an observation.
So, what do I think? Well, I’m glad that this little surprise was in the Harpoon Summer Vacation variety pack because its my first exposure to a different style of beer! Kölsch. Its an ale in lager clothing! I’m happy I tried it because I liked it enough to want to try other beers of the same style, but perhaps not this one from Harpoon.
It was good and certainly fits the bill on a warm day, but knowing how it is, there are better choices for me.
What about you? Can you recommend a good Kölsch that you think I should try?
Scott – TheBrewClub